So I'm a month late on getting this report up, but I'm sure you'll all understand. benk and myself went down to California to hit up all the amazing roads, me for the first time and him for the third. We went at the end of May to take advantage of cooler temperatures since I hate anything above 25, Ben's previous adventures had been later in the summer when it was hotter. However, going earlier in the year meant the risk of rain and colder temperatures, of which we received plenty of on our first two days. It also meant that poor, skinny Ben would be wearing thermals under his leathers for the majority of the trip.
Both of us were rocking tail-bag setups, with Ben also having a tank-bag and myself with a small hydration backpack (that quickly got stuffed into the tailbag as the hose did not like to hang in an easily-accessible position). Ben had struggled for a few years with trying to get his tail-bag to not slide forward and bump into his back under braking, and together we designed some internal structures, his out of aluminum and mine out of 22 gauge steel (big mistake, too heavy, but I digress), that kept our bags firmly planted and didn't allow them to slide at all.
Day 1 - Departure from Vancouver, California bound! - 895km
One of the rest stops along the I-5, a full-day blitz with Yreka, CA as our optimal destination for the day, even though we were in rain for about two thirds of the day. Starting the day at 8am watching the rain pour down at the border, it did not look good, and I was thanking the stars that I had brought my rain gear and not "toughed it out" as I was originally planning. We ended up only making it to Medford, OR as it was approaching 9pm when we got to the Motel 6. Hopefully tomorrow will be nicer!
Day 2 - Medford, OR to Red Bluff, CA - 671km
Well, it's raining again this morning. Fuck, guess it's rain gear time again. Up to the mountains we go!
Whelp, it's snowing up here and about 2 degrees, but at least it's stopped raining! I'm only wearing a perforated leather suit and a t-shirt underneath, while Ben is a bit more bundled up:
We ventured on to the coast via Hwy 299, it was on this road that we ran into more rain so we had to stop so I could gear back up. I learned a valuable lesson on the importance of maintaining your line in a corner when I got lazy and crossed the dotted white line between lanes and had the front wheel catch in the reflector rut and toss me up off the seat a few inches in what felt like a mini high-side. Thankfully I recovered quick enough to get back over and complete the turn about 5 pounds lighter.
We stopped for lunch in Eureka, weather was gorgeous but alas, we were destined to return to the mountains as we braved Hwy 36 into Red Bluff. There are basically 3 parts to this stretch of road: the narrow non-divided ascent, the upper mountain roads, and then the rolling hills on the east side. Of course, by the time we reached the end of the non-divided section it was raining and freezing cold, snow was mixed in with it as well as we slowly made our way through the mountain section.
Highway Patrol drove by us here as I was watering the flowers, thankfully the officer just waved and continued on. Once we dropped out of the mountain and into the hill section, the weather dried out and we enjoyed an hour's worth of quick sharp turns with lots of hiccup-hills that block your view of the turns ahead, so we had to be careful, but of course not too careful
The day's conclusion: Hwy 36 is absolutely fantastic, weather permitting.
Day 3 - Red Bluff, CA to Rohnert Park, CA - 635 km
After a lovely encounter with a gangbangin' thug from Washington in which I was certain he was going to stab Ben and myself in front of his wife and kids in the parking lot of the Motel 6 (damn you, Ben), we were off to Hwy 36 again only heading west this time in beautiful weather, it must have been 15 degrees warmer than yesterday.
The lovely sign at the beginning of Hwy 36 as you leave Red Bluff, as you can see conditions are perfect. Our first day to remove those pesky chicken strips and it certainly wasn't hard Ben decided that running over a road-killed bird was a good course of action, resulting in myself receiving a feather shower. We continued south towards Hwy 1, stopping in Leggett to visit the Chandelier Tree:
But then we were off, carving through the short section of road between Leggett and the coast, just a fantastically tight and twisty road with minimal traffic thankfully, especially since it was Sunday. Behold, the coast: